The Beckford Society
Spring 2017 Newsletter
8:34 pm | April 12, 2017

Author: Beckford Society

The Spring 2017 Beckford Society newsletter has been posted to members and is now available on the web site via the Newsletters tab on the Publications page.

Romney’s ‘The Indian Woman, from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
7:44 pm | December 7, 2016

Author: Beckford Society

Sotheby’s are selling in London on 8th December, Lot 197, Romney’s ‘The Indian Woman, from A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ which Beckford bought for 300 guineas from the artist in 1797. It was sold at the Fonthill Splendens sale in 1807, and last appeared at auction in 1964, when bought by Sabin for 240 guineas.

Old Fonthill Abbey open grounds 2017
9:36 pm | November 22, 2016

Author: Beckford Society

The grounds and woods of Old Fonthill Abbey will be open to the public on Sundays 30th April and 14th May 2017.
Visitors will be welcome to follow marked paths around the woodland and Bitham Lake.
The openings are in aid of local charities. Further information will be available early in 2017.

New book: Laurent Châtel’s “William Beckford the elusive Orientalist”
8:11 am | November 11, 2016

Author: Beckford Society

Laurent Châtel’s new book “William Beckford the elusive Orientalist” is published this month by the University of Oxford’s Voltaire Foundation under the Studies in the Enlightenment series. Further details are available here:

Autumn 2016 Newsletter
7:12 pm | October 13, 2016

Author: Beckford Society

The Autumn 2016 Beckford Society newsletter has been posted to members and is now available on the web site via the Newsletters tab on the Publications page.

Beckford Society Hadlow Tower visit on 29th September
10:55 am | July 22, 2016

Author: Beckford Society





Hadlow Tower, or May’s Folly as it is affectionately known, once formed part of a grand Romantic Gothic house built in the late 18th and 19th centuries for Walter May, a yeoman farmer. The tower at Hadlow was started in 1838 by May’s son, Walter Barton May, to a design by George Ledwell Taylor and bears a striking resemblance to that of Fonthill. Built of brick and rendered with Roman cement, it is 175 feet high, commanding the local landscape.
In 1951 the main house was demolished for building materials, but a portrait painter Bernard Hailstone purchased the tower and saved it from demolition. The future of the tower was threatened following storm damage in 1987. It was on the World Heritage Fund at risk register, but saved and restored by the Vivat Trust after a campaign by the Save Hadlow Tower Action Group. Vivat converted the tower to provide holiday accommodation. Last year the trust went into receivership and the tower is now for sale.

The Tower is open to the public on Thursdays until the end of September, and we felt that members might like the opportunity to visit this building which has been described as ‘The Fonthill of Kent’.
Our visit will be on THURSDAY 29 SEPTEMBER at 2.30pm. Admission tickets cost £4.

Please let me know, if you would like to take part in this visit.


Hadlow is about 3 miles NE of Tonbridge.
More information about Hadlow Tower can be found on the tower’s website

One Estate – Ten Houses, a talk by Professor Caroline Dakers
8:38 pm | May 2, 2016

Author: Beckford Society

‘One Estate – Ten Houses’ will describe how ten such differing houses came and went within just a few hundred years on the Fonthill estate. Caroline Dakers is Professor of Cultural History at Central Saint Martins, currently leading a project to write the whole history of Fonthill since the 16th century, focusing on the houses and gardens, the estates and their owners.
The talk, in aid of the restoration of Chicklade Church, will take place on Friday 13th May in Bake Barn, Chicklade, Hindon, Salisbury SP3 5SY (limited wheelchair access). 6pm drinks & canapés, talk commences 6.30pm. Tickets £15 (BACS, cash or cheque) from Vicky Macaskie or Victoria Beer, The Fonthill Estate Office, The Old Dairy, Fonthill Bishop, Salisbury SP3 5SH. Email or telephone 01747 820435.

William Beckford & The Music of Fantasy
8:25 pm |

Author: Beckford Society

An occasion not to be missed, this is the first time so many aspects of Beckford’s work will be considered together. Contributions from Sidney Blackmore, Dr Amy Frost, Professor Victor Sage and Michael Maxwell Steer.
Saturday 28th May 2016 9.30am – 5.15pm, Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution, 16 Queen Square, Bath BA1 2HN. Advance tickets: Full day: £12 / £10 telephone 01225 463662 or via Bath Box Office online.

Spring 2016 Newsletter
3:04 pm | April 4, 2016

Author: Beckford Society

The Spring 2016 Beckford Society newsletter has been posted to members and is now available on the web site via the Newsletters tab on the Publications page.

AGM 2016
1:49 pm | December 8, 2015

Author: Beckford Society

Please note for your diaries, the 2016 Annual General Meeting of The Beckford Society will be held on Saturday 11th June in London at Dr Johnson’s House. Full information will be circulated with the forthcoming Newsletter.

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